Best Albums of 2019: Ishq

Autumn Leaves (
In Diamond Light (

Seasoned psyambient traveller Matt Hillier recently took a break from his Ishq project, but it didn’t last very long. This year we’ve recently seen a large swathe of Ishq releases in a wide array of sub-styles, from spectral tribal atmospherics and squiggly sci-fi futuretronics to lush psychedelic drones and pretty pastoral tone poems.

The beatless Autumn Leaves is vintage Ishq, featuring some of Matt’s more melodious psyambient excursions including Jacqui Kersley’s wispy voice samples. Field recordings mesh with twinkly, droney electronic textures and occasional samples from cellos, flutes and acoustic guitar. This is nature ambient that finds magic in everyday things, a gentle, trippy love letter to the Cornish landscape that started it all. By way of contrast, In Diamond Light leaves nature behind and opts for ecstatic, oscillating tone colours over extended beds of richly textured drones. The three long-form pieces are all related to a point, with some recurring motifs and patterns, yet not so much that they sound like variations of the same track. While Matt writes that the album is intended for relaxation, it’s nothing like relaxation muzak. This is some of Ishq’s most celestial and harmonic psychedelia, and that’s saying something among such a deep and vast catalogue.

Also notable from Ishq this year: Light and Space, Nightflower and, among his more experimental and far-out electronic fare, Tetrahedral Light Object is the standout so far from his 10-volume Exoplanets series.

Best Albums of 2019 Reviews Index

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